Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Golden Dragon

Carissa, Zeynep and I all saw this fascinating piece at the Arcola last night. It's the first production my old university chum Ramin Gray has done in his new position at ATC - and it's characteristically inspiring stuff. The text is from a German writer called Roland Schimmelpfennig, and it looks at globalised economics and human trafficking through the microcosm of a Chinese restaurant and the various people who live in the block above it. I found the play's form really exciting - it's a storytelling piece in which the five actors play characters as far removed from their own persona as you can be - particularly in terms of age and gender. The entire cast is white - and that's been a source of some controversy - but for me it worked, precisely because there was no attempt to represent race or any other biological aspect of humanity. The actors were honest about who they were - a group of people in London right now, telling a story in a more objective, detached, but none the less affecting way. It's a different approach from our own, and every bit as valid.

Ramin asked us to join him for a drink - which turned out to be ATC's fundraising gala. He's laying lots of stress on international work with the company, as his speech / fundraising pitch made very clear. But it's not in competition with us in any way - Ramin's approach is collaborative, but it's also very clearly writer-led, and it's not cross-cultural in the way our processes are. I think we probably need to work quite carefully to define ourselves more precisely, so that people know what we do and why we are different.

Chat to Nick Williams, who used to be our ACE officer, and is now Executive Director at ATC. He fills me in on the current situation with booking tours. And I also get to chat with Maria Delgado, who is Chair of the company, and whose interests overlap with mine all over the place! I'd been reading her notes in the London Film Festival programme, and feeling annoyed that I'm going to be away for the whole of October. Maria says it's a particularly strong programme this year.

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